US import tariffs on Argentina biofuels hurt producers

Argentina has said it will challenge the tariffs at the WTO, but in the meantime, formerly lucrative factories in Argentina will be forced to find new customers or cut production and staff.

    Argentina’s once-booming biofuels industry is suffering after its main market, the United States, imposed a 72 percent tariff on imports.

    The move is part of the Trump administration’s “America First” policy, which Argentinians have called “protectionist”.

    Al Jazeera’s Teresa Bo reports from Rosario, Argentina.

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    Winnipeg 911 operators contend with callers confused about Amber Alert

    Some Winnipeggers were so upset or confused Thursday about an Amber Alert on their phones that they called 911.

    The alert, about a missing Ontario girl, was instrumental in the arrest of the 11-year-old’s father and the sad discovery of her body.

    It wasn’t, however, intended to be sent to Manitoba phones, and Winnipeg police were inundated by calls as a result.

    “This was unexpected. We didn’t expect this reaction from the public,” police Cst. Tammy Skrabek told Global News.

    “A lot of it was misunderstanding, not knowing what it was, and a lot of people complaining about it.”

    Winnipeg police shared some of the calls on their social media, which included questions like “is this a scam?”, “my phone messaged me to call 911”, and this exchange:

    Caller: “My furnace is making a noise.”
    Call taker: “That’s not your furnace, it’s your phone.”
    Caller: “How do I turn it off?”

    Skrabek said police understand there’s some unfamiliarity with the Alert Ready system, but that Winnipeggers need to be aware of the purpose of the 911 service.

    “If somebody calls and they’re having a medical emergency and they call 911, all calls get screened through us,” she said.

    “So if they need an ambulance and we’re tied up answering calls about why somebody received an amber alert, or ‘why am I subscribed to this?’, those calls can’t get through.

    “There’s only so many call takers, and we don’t want people on hold on 911. That’s not an ideal situation.”

    Police say inappropriate calls to 911 are a frequent, and frustrating, occurrence.

    RCMP tweeted out Friday reminding people that the emergency number is “ONLY for emergencies” after someone called asking where he could rent a zamboni for a hockey tournament.

    Global News

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    Life-threatening journey of Honduran migrants to the US

    Thousands of Hondurans risk their lives every year, leaving the country in the hope of a better future in the United States.

      Thousands of Hondurans risk their lives every year, leaving the country in the hope of a better future in the United States. Honduras is one of the most violent countries in the world, and the route is dangerous – and becoming more so.

      Al Jazeera’s Mariana Sanchez reports from El Progreso in Honduras on the difficulties facing those attempting the journey.

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      New Westminster police hunting for man wanted on Canada-wide warrant

      New Westminster police are asking the public to help located a man wanted on a Canada-wide warrant.

      Jory Wade Patrick, 32, is wanted for break and enter, possession of a weapon, uttering threats and mischief and breach of probation.

      “We are asking for the assistance of the public to locate him, but do not approach him and call police immediately,” said spokesperson Sgt. Jeff Scott.

      “Mr. Patrick is known to be around New Westminster, Surrey, and Burnaby, and we are hoping to effect an arrest as quickly as possible.”

      Patrick is described as Indigenous, six feet tall and 155 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.

      He has tattoos on his left hand reading “JORY” and “AK47.” On his right hand he has a tattoo of flaming dice.

      Anyone who sees him is asked to call 911.

      Global News

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      Environment Secretary to unveil plastic bottle deposit scheme

      Environment Secretary Michael Gove to unveil plastic bottle deposit scheme in a victory for the Mail’s war on plastic

      • Michael Gove will unveil plans for a recycling revolution to slash plastic waste 
      • The Environment Secretary will propose a new return scheme for plastic bottles 
      • Similar schemes already operate across Europe, including Germany and Finland
      • A network of ‘reverse vending machines’ would be set up to return empty bottles

      Michael Gove will next week unveil plans for a recycling revolution that includes a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles.

      In a victory for the Mail’s war on plastic, the Environment Secretary will publish detailed proposals designed to slash waste and boost recycling.

      As well as plastic bottles, the deposit scheme is also set to cover cans and glass containers.

      Environment Secretary Michael Gove will unveil plans for a recycling revolution. A deposit return scheme could come into force by 2023 if it gets the go-ahead and funding from the Treasury [File photo]

      Shoppers would pay a small deposit on every purchase which would be paid back when empties are returned in a network of ‘reverse vending machines’.

      Official estimates suggest the likely boost to the economy from the scheme could be as high as £2billion. 

      A Whitehall source said: ‘The truth is we use too much plastic and don’t recycle enough. An ‘all in’ deposit return scheme would turbo-boost recycling across the country, help to clear our streets of litter and rid our seas and oceans of the scourge of plastic waste.’

      As part of its Turn the Tide on Plastic campaign, the Mail has led calls for such a scheme to stop plastic in bottles, bags and cups blighting the countryside and endangering wildlife.

      Shoppers would pay a small deposit on every purchase which would be paid back when empties are returned in a network of ‘reverse vending machines’. Official estimates suggest the likely boost to the economy from the scheme could be as high as £2billion [File photo]

      The consultation document will set out two options for how the scheme could work.

      The first would cover the vast majority of drinks containers sold in the UK, regardless of their size. A second, more limited, option known as ‘on-the-go’ would only cover bottles smaller than 750ml. 

      Estimates suggest up to three billion plastic bottles are currently incinerated, sent to landfill or left to pollute Britain’s streets, countryside, rivers and streams, as well as 2.7billion cans and 1.5billion glass bottles.

      Similar schemes already operate across Europe, where deposits range from 5p to 22p. In countries that use them, return rates of drinks containers are vastly higher than in Britain. 


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      Denmark, Finland, Germany, Norway and the Netherlands recycle more than 90 per cent of all plastic containers. If it gets the go-ahead, and funding from the Treasury, the scheme could come into force by 2023. 

      New proposals are also expected on curbside recycling, and measures to encourage producers to swallow more of the cost of recycling or the disposal of waste packaging.

      Currently, firms that produce single-use and non-biodegradable packaging contribute just £73million towards clean-ups. The rest is shouldered by councils. 

      It could mean supermarkets, food producers and drinks firms facing much higher bills to pay for recycling and could raise up to £1billion.

      Estimates suggest up to three billion plastic bottles are currently incinerated, sent to landfill or left to pollute Britain’s streets, countryside, rivers and streams, as well as 2.7billion cans and 1.5billion glass bottles [File photo]

      The sum will go towards paying councils for the cost of recycling. But manufacturers will be able to recover a significant part of the cost if their packaging is successfully recycled.

      Figures this week showed recycling rates have stagnated for the fifth year in a row, suggesting the UK will miss its target to recycle half of all household waste by next year.

      Some 63,057 Britons have signed up to the Great British Spring Clean. Working alongside Keep Britain Tidy, the Daily Mail is urging readers to take part in this year’s clean-up. 

      They will take part in litter pickups from March 22 to April 23 in what should be the year’s largest environmental event. 

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      Walk to Palestine: Activist walking 5,000km

      Benjamin Ladraa is walking from Sweden to Palestine to raise awareness of the Israeli occupation.

        Twenty-five-year-old Swedish activist Benjamin Ladraa is on a treacherous walk from Sweden to Palestine to raise awareness about human rights violations in the occupied territories.

        As of Wednesday, he is in Bulgaria and should reach Istanbul on March 20, walking 30-50km a day.

        Ladraa began his 5,000km journey from Gothenburg, Sweden, on August 8 last year.

        “The plan is to continue through Bulgaria, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and again through Syria to Jordan, and if I cannot get into Palestine, I will try to inform the media about it,” he said.

        Journey

        Each day is a different experience, Ladraa says. Sometimes he sleeps in his tent or a hostel. Dinner may mean eating canned food by a campfire or a meal shared with hosts he meets during his journey.

        Ladraa sometimes holds lectures, where he tells his audience what he saw during his Palestine trip.

        With the exception of some isolated incidents, he says most people welcomed him.

        In Prague, he says, he was detained by Israeli embassy guards because he was carrying a Palestinian flag and pushing a trolley.

        He was released after a bomb squad ensured he was not dangerous.

        However, the guards scanned his passport, and Ladraa fears border troops will not let him enter Palestine.

        He posts pictures of his journey on his Facebook and Instagram accounts under #walktopalestine.

        Ladraa, who occasionally worked for the Red Cross, saved for about a year for this trip.

        He says he has sold everything he owns. Sometimes, he receives donations.

        He is expected to complete his journey in June or July.

        Raising awareness

        Ladraa says he was so moved by a three-week trip to Palestine in April 2017 that he decided to “tell the world about the situation in Palestine”.

        “I was shocked by what I saw there, seeing all the walls, soldiers walking along the streets carrying M-60 machine guns. I heard stories about 300 children in prisons, rapes in homes.

        “After three weeks, I returned and wanted to do something to raise awareness about human rights violations in Palestine,” said Ladraa, who was born to Jewish parents.

        On the move, Ladraa carries the Palestinian flag on his back and a keffiyeh, a symbol of Palestinian independence, over his shoulder.

        “I think everyone can and should give a little time to do something for other people,” said Ladraa as he set off from Belgrade on February 10.

        Witness

        Ambulance: The Story of the 2014 War on Gaza

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        Report: Hong Kong's appetite for reef fish 'unsustainable'

        Yvonne Sadovy, co-author of the eye-opening report on live reef food fish titled, Going, going gone, says Hong Kong’s laws ‘are ill-equipped to control the trade as its practiced today’.

          It is a billion-dollar industry driven by demand in Hong Kong and China for ultra-fresh sea food.

          But an eye-opening report on Live Reef Food Fish (LRFF) released on Thursday by leading academics and conservationists in Hong Kong, paints a dismal future for the trade.

           

          Al Jazeera’s Divya Gopalan takes a look at why many reef fish species are under threat.

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          Russia detains prominent U.S. investor on suspicion of fraud

          MOSCOW (Reuters) – Michael Calvey, the U.S. founder of one of Russia’s biggest private equity firms, denied allegations of fraud in a Moscow court on Friday but a judge ordered him to be detained for 72 hours, a move that could raise concerns among foreign investors.

          Calvey, senior partner at Baring Vostok, was first detained on Thursday along with three other executives after investigators accused him and others of embezzling 2.5 billion rubles ($37.61 million).

          Calvey, who is well known in financial circles as one of Russia’s most prominent investors, told the court he was innocent and that the accusations against him had been initiated by Russian businessmen embroiled in a commercial conflict with him and his fund over a Russian bank.

          “Almost everything said here is false,” said Calvey.

          After listening to him, a judge ordered him to be detained for a further 72 hours, but said the court would consider on Saturday if he should continue to be kept in custody.

          Calvey’s detention came as Russia hosted an investment forum in the Black Sea resort of Sochi intended to attract foreign investors, many of whom stopped pumping in new money when the West imposed sanctions on Moscow for its actions in Ukraine.

          In the past few years, Russian law enforcement has mounted cases involving the businesses of billionaire entrepreneur Mikhail Prokhorov, Vladimir Yevtushenkov and Ziyavudin Magomedov. Officials have denied the cases are politically-motivated, but some people in business circles say they have had a chilling effect on the business climate.

          Kirill Dmitriev, the head of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund said he knew Calvey and his team as professional investors and would personally vouch for Calvey. Dmitriev is an influential member of President Vladimir Putin’s ruling circle.

          German Gref, head of Sberbank, Russia’s biggest state bank, also weighed in on Calvey’s behalf, saying he was a decent man and that he hoped the case against him would turn out to be a misunderstanding.

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          • Russian court orders Baring Vostok founder to be held for 72 hoursRussian court orders Baring Vostok founder to be held for 72 hours

          Putin was not aware of Calvey’s detention, the Interfax news agency cited the Kremlin as saying.

          “This is not going to play well with the investor community, nor I think (with) the U.S. government and Congress,” said Timothy Ash, an emerging markets strategist for BlueBay Asset Management.

          “(It’s a) disaster from a Russian PR perspective,” he added, saying it could have an impact on sanctions legislation which has been introduced by U.S. senators to punish Russia for meddling in U.S. elections and for its actions in Ukraine.

          U.S.-Russia relations are already strained over everything from Syria to missile development as well as the arrest in Moscow of a former U.S. marine, Paul Whelan, accused of espionage.

          If found guilty, Calvey and the other suspects face up to 10 years in jail.

          Baring Vostok is a major equity fund group in Russia and its website says it has over $3.7 billion of committed capital.

          A state prosecutor said Calvey and other executives at his fund were suspected of embezzling 2.5 billion rubles by persuading shareholders in a Russian bank to accept a stake in another firm at an inflated price.

          The alleged share scam occurred in 2017 and involved Vostochny Bank, a small lender in which Baring Vostok has a controlling stake. It concerned the transfer of equity in Luxembourg-based Financial Technology Group.

          Baring Vostok, which described the case as a commercial dispute, said it was continuing to operate as normal.

          It said it had full confidence in the legality of the actions of Calvey and the other executives.

          Vostochny Bank said it was cooperating with the authorities and was hoping that the losses it had incurred as part of the share deal would be reimbursed.

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          Trade talks to continue in Washington as deadline looms

          Beijing: Chinese President Xi Jinping said "important progress" had been made towards a trade deal with the US as he met with Washington's hardline trade representative Robert Lighthizer and commerce secretary Stephen Mnuchin on Friday night.

          But few details were released after two days of trade talks in Beijing, and the US and Chinese negotiating teams agreed to meet in Washington next week.

          Making progress: Chinese President Xi Jinping.Credit:AP

          A March 1 deadline for escalating tariffs on $US200 billion ($280 billion) in Chinese exports to the United States looms.

          US President Donald Trump later said the trade negotiations were "going extremely well" and "it would be my honour to remove" punitive tariffs – but only if the two sides can reach a deal.

          Consultation on the wording of a memorandum of understanding on trade began during the Beijing meetings.

          A White House  statement said: "During the talks, the United States delegation focused on structural issues, including forced technology transfer, intellectual property rights, cyber theft, agriculture, services, non-tariff barriers and currency."

          There was no comment on whether major sticking points – China's resistance to agree to US demands to restructure its economy and end subsidies to state-owned companies, particularly in the technology field – had been overcome.

          President Xi told Lighthizer and Mnuchin in their meeting: "I have repeatedly said that China and the United States cannot be separated from one another. Only through cooperation can a win-win situation be attained, and confrontation will certainly lead to a lose-lose scenario."

          As negotiations to resolve the year-long trade war have continued, Washington has stepped up its pressure on Chinese technology companies, particularly 5G equipment maker Huawei. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this week toured eastern Europe warning US allies not to use Huawei equipment.

          Trump has indicated he is prepared to delay his tariff deadline beyond March if he believes a deal can be struck.

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          Boohoo bans wool for being ‘cruel to animals’

          Knit wits? Online retail giant Boohoo bans WOOL because PETA says its ‘cruel to animals’ – but campaigners say the boycott will harm sheep and be bad for the environment

          • Fashion chain Boohoo says that it is banning wool because it is cruel to animals 
          • But a campaign for wool backed by Prince Charles branded the action ‘absurd’ 
          • The National Sheep Association said: ‘Wool is not a cruelly sourced product’ 

          Many fashion chains have long banned fur and exotic animal skins for ethical reasons.

          But one leading online clothes retailer has taken things a step further – and halted its use of wool.

          The move by Boohoo has shocked farmers who say shearing sheep should not involve any cruelty. And a campaign for wool backed by Prince Charles branded the action ‘absurd’.

          In fact, removing fleeces is vital on welfare grounds to stop the animals from overheating and to protect them from insect infestations.


          Under the new move, retail giant Boohoo would ban both of these dresses. The Double Breasted Check Wool Coat (left) costs £34.60 and the Petite Wool Fitted Parka costs £41.80

          At the same time, wool is a natural, sustainable, source of yarn and clothing, unlike the plastic and polyester that is used for most of the cheap lines churned out by Boohoo, including dresses for as little as £3.

          Currently, retailers – particularly fast fashion firms – are under pressure for fuelling the problem of plastic pollution by promoting throwaway clothing.

          Boohoo’s decision follows pressure from campaigning vegan group PETA, which caused controversy in November after calling for the Dorset village of Wool to change its name as part of its campaign against what it claims is cruel sheep farming.


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          The group, which includes the brands Boohoo, BoohooMAN, PrettyLittleThing, and Nasty Gal, told PETA that as of autumn-winter 2019/20, ‘we will not knowingly source any wool products’.

          A spokesman told the Mail that the change is being made on animal welfare grounds.

          However, the National Sheep Association hit back. A spokesman said: ‘Wool is not a cruelly sourced product. In the vast majority of cases sheep are handled with care when being shorn, and are shorn for health and comfort reasons.

          ‘The sheep industry does not condone any behaviour that falls below the highest welfare standard for the sheep.’ Nicholas Coleridge, chairman of the Prince of Wales’ Campaign for Wool, added that PETA’s position opposing the use of wool was ‘absurd’ and ‘out of date’.

          This double breasted wool look coat would still be on sale at the retailer, as it stops wool clothing because of animal welfare

          ‘The reason the Prince of Wales is so passionate about the use of wool is that it is ecologically more sound than almost any other material,’ he said. ‘It is reusable and natural as well as making beautiful clothes.’

          PETA claims the process of shearing can involve cruelty and rough handling of the animals. Since 2004, it has released 11 exposes of 99 sheep-shearing facilities on four continents, including in the UK, where it claims there is evidence of abuse. It also claims the wool industry causes damage to the environment because manure from livestock contributes to greenhouse gases.

          Just yesterday, PETA supporters protested outside a London Fashion Week event against the use of wool. Activists carried signs proclaiming, ‘Wool Is as Cruel as Fur’.

          Boohoo currently has some coats and jackets which contain a mix of real wool in the material. However, most of its range has already been given over to what it calls ‘wool-look’ products, which are made from a mixture of polyester and viscose.

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